Co-Founder & Drummer, Metallica
Why you should listen
Whilst the “frontmen” of successful bands are usually recognized as the leader – in Metallica’s case, the leadership comes from behind the drum kit with Lars Ulrich.
His business leadership has propelled Metallica to become one of the world’s most commercially successful bands.
He has been breaking barriers, overcoming obstacles (like Napster), and navigating the evolving music industry.
Over a span of 35 years, Lars has released ten studio albums, 4 live albums, a cover album, 5 extended plays, 37 singles, and 39 music videos with Metallica.
Hear Lars speak at WORLDWEBFORUM 2020 about his unconventional leadership that has brought them on their latest WORLDWIRED tour.
Metallica, one of the biggest selling acts in American history, were born on October 28, 1981 when drummer Lars Ulrich and guitar player/singer James Hetfield got together via Ulrich’s LA Recycler newspaper ad.
Soon, the two had recruited Hetfield’s friend and housemate Ron McGovney to play bass, Dave Mustaine to play lead guitar, and taken the name Metallica after a suggestion from Bay Area metal scene friend Ron Quintana. Their ascent was to be relatively quick, driven by sheer work-rate, effort and a rare musical chemistry.
Under the influence of Metallica and it’s fierce rivalry with Megadeth, founded by ex member Dave Mustaine after he parted with Metallica – the popularity of the Heavy Metal genre grew and made it to the mainstream.
Metallica has since released ten studio albums, four live albums, a cover album, five extended plays, 37 singles and 39 music videos.
The band has won nine Grammy Awards from 23 nominations, and its last six studio albums (beginning with Metallica) have consecutively debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. Metallica ranks as one of the most commercially successful bands of all time, having sold over 125 million albums worldwide as of 2018.
Metallica has been listed as one of the greatest artists of all time by magazines such as Rolling Stone, which ranked them at no. 61 on its 100 Greatest Artists of All Time list. As of 2017, Metallica is the third best-selling music artist since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991, selling a total of 58 million albums in the United States.
Some kind of monster
After bassist Jason Newsted quits the band in 2001, heavy metal superstars Metallica realize that they need an intervention.
In the revealing documentary “Some Kind of Monster”, filmmakers follow the three rock stars as they hire a group therapist and grapple with 20 years of repressed anger and aggression.
Between searching for a replacement bass player, creating a new album and confronting their personal demons, the band learns to open up in ways they never thought possible.
Metallica filed a lawsuit against Napster, the peer-to-peer file-sharing company triggered the market for online streaming, for copyright infringement and racketeering.
In July 2000, Lars Ulrich testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee after Metallica‘s entire catalogue, including the then-unfinished track “I Disappear” was found to be freely available for download on the service.
The case was settled out-of-court, resulting in more than 300,000 Napster users being banned from the service.
Lars Ulrich was born on December 26, 1963 in Gentofte, Denmark. His father, Torben Ulrich, was a professional tennis player, and instilled in Lars a love of the game. As a child, Ulrich anticipated following in his father’s footsteps to become a professional tennis player.
Then, at age 10, he saw the band Deep Purple—his first concert—and a few years later, his grandmother bought him his first drumset. His plans for the future began to change.
Ulrich’s family moved to Los Angeles when he was 16. As his passion for tennis waned, his passion for drumming increased. He placed an ad in a local newspaper, looking for “metal musicians to jam with.” James Hetfield one of the respondents. Five months later, they formed Metallica, one of the most commercially successful bands of all time.
Hetfield became the lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter for the band, while Ulrich was drummer, producer and the business mind driving the band’s success.
After more than 30 years, Metallica is still going strong selling out shows around the world. Their latest album “Hardwired…To Self-Destruct” went platinum in the US.
Ulrich is not only one of the world’s most respected drummers, but he’s also in charge of the business side of the band—and he’s not afraid to stand up for his band’s rights and interests as evinced by the Napster case in 2001.